I heard a friend say recently that her boss had “the patience of Job.” When I asked where that old saying came from, she said, “Is it from the story of Job in the Bible?” “Good guess,” I told her, “however not from the Old Testament Book of Job, but from the New Testament Epistle of James, King James Version.” That’s where we find “the patience of Job” quoted. But where did Job find the actual patience to suffer without getting angry and giving up, as his wife suggested he do when she told him to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9)? What was his secret?
I think the answer comes from these words of Job: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth. And after my skin is destroyed … I shall see God … How my heart yearns within me” (Job 19:25-27 NKJV). What an amazing statement from one who lived long before any of the Bible was written. His fellowship with God gave him a trust in a not-yet-revealed Redeemer, in spite of his pitiable condition and cynical wife and friends.
Trusting his Redeemer’s victory over death – “After my skin is destroyed … I shall see God” – inspired him to suffer without cursing God and giving up. Job lived above his circumstances because he knew his Redeemer. He lost his possessions and family, was misunderstood by his friends, and was brought low physically. Yet he patiently waited on his Redeemer because he could see way ahead to His Second Coming: “He shall stand at last on the earth.”
Job believed and trusted, without benefit of the New Testament’s written record of our Redeemer’s presence and power. So we shouldn’t be surprised by Job’s patience. In fact, the secret of Job’s patience should be the secret of our patience as well. Job was sure of his Redeemer, and lived accordingly. We should too, especially with the Bible in our hands.
The Features for this month and next will consider different aspects of the suffering of Job. I hope you will find them enlightening and encouraging.
By Larry Ondrejack
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org